We were blown away by author Amy-Lee Goodman's presentation at The Seed Experience, a plant-based food conference we attended this spring in NYC. She has a wealth of information from her huge research projects on health, healing, and the environmental implications of meat production. So, it is with huge excitement that we post an interview with Amy-Lee, who is as warm and friendly as she is knowledgeable about the benefits of a plant-based diet to one's health, and how the mass consumption of animal protein affects the greater world. Similar to me and my Mom, adopting a plant-based diet for Amy-Lee was a family matter. Read on to learn Amy-Lee's story and where her research has led her. You will find it absorbing and inspiring.
Amy-Lee, we heard you speak at The Seed Experience, a plant-based conference, and you told an amazing story about how you discovered plant-based living through your sister's healing experience, and why you believe in it passionately. Could you briefly recap that story for our readers?
My evolution to a plant-based lifestyle was greatly impacted by my family. I grew up as a meat and potatoes girl in Texas. I witnessed how my younger sister’s health was dramatically impacted by taking meat and dairy off her plate. My sister was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the young age of 9 and became a skeleton of her former vivacious self. Living on medication from methotrexate (a form of chemotherapy) to Enbrel injections twice a day, the doctors told our family this would be my sister's life moving forward. My mom read The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell whose research showed how meat and dairy can contribute to autoimmune conditions. Within three months of taking my sister off all animal products, her arthritis had completely gone into remission. It was eye-opening.
I became so passionate about this subject that I started further research factory farming and discovered how unsustainable it is for our planet. The choice for me and my family, who evolved at the same time, was simple.
How did you come up with the idea for your book, Rethink Food: 100+ Doctors Can't Be Wrong, and was it difficult to bring that idea to life?
Rethink Food was born out of [a book I wrote prior] The Meaty Truth: Why Our Food Is Destroying Our Health and Environment—and Who Is Responsible. As we researched and interviewed doctors we realized that there wasn't a resource book out there which combined doctors from all over the world that spoke to how a plant-based diet could be used as both a prevention and tool to reverse many of today's leading chronic conditions. Our society values doctor's opinions, and we wanted to bring a powerful and respected international voice to the debate on why our disease centered approach to medicine is not working.
We spent 9 months researching and interviewing doctors from around the world. It was quite a feat with long 18 hour days, but it was one of the most rewarding experiences to speak with individuals who are changing patient lives on a daily basis. It gave me much hope for the future of medicine.
Do you have any tips for our readers about finding plant-based doctors and treatments?
Rethink Food is a great resource to find a doctor that fits a certain condition or need as the book is organized by disease. We actually found most of these doctors through PCRM, Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine, recommendations from other physicians, and google was our main search engine. There are thousands of plant-based doctors out there. In NYC a great place to start is the Montefiore Wellness Center.
How long have you been living plant-based, and what has been your biggest challenge in adopting the diet as a lifestyle?
I have been plant-based for 8 years now and my biggest challenge was giving up cheese. I began by slowing cutting out products, meat was actually very easy, and cheese was the last product that I gave up. As I cut out animal products, I noticed how different and good I felt. It made it easier to make the full transition. Today, there are also so many products that can make the transition easier from faux meats to soy, almond or coconut dairy products.
Are there any other alternative medicine approaches for healing that you practice, such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture, etc.?
Wellness and living a healthy lifestyle is a full mind body connection. My goal this year is to better integrate yoga and meditation on a regular basis. I started hot yoga and Bikram Yoga in college and really loved it.
Can you tell us more about The Meaty Truth? How did people respond to this book?
The Meaty Truth takes a hard hitting, journalistic approach to examining our food system and how it affects our health and environment. We wanted to add a young voice to the food debate and inspire my generation to become passionate about the issues that we will be dealing with in our future. It is not an easy read as we don't shy away from opening up the factory doors and showing the public what they are really eating. The most exciting news an author can hear is when someone says your book changed how they eat and opened their eyes. The book has received wide praise including from Super Size Me's Morgan Spurlock who called it, "a must read for everyone that eats in America."
We extend a huge thanks to Amy-Lee for her time and information for this post! Were you inspired by this article? Is there someone in your life who could benefit from learning about a plant-based diet to help with the prevention or care of an illness? Browse our other posts to learn more about the plant-based diet and get recipe ideas and shopping/dining out tips so that you can try plant-based eating. Please let us know how you feel in our comment area below or @forkfuloflove on Twitter or Instagram!